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BBC cameraman ‘violently pushed and shoved’ at Trump rally

BBC handout screengrab of a man being restrained at a rally in El Paso, Texas following BBC cameraman Ron Skeans being assaulted during a speech by US President Donald Trump

A BBC cameraman was shoved during a speech by US President Donald Trump in what has been described as an “incredibly violent attack”.

Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, who is blind, said his colleague Ron Skeans had been filming a rally in El Paso, Texas, when the incident happened.

Describing what unfolded, he said a supporter of Trump got on to the reporters’ platform and pushed the camera into his colleague, before continuing to push Skeans.

The experienced cameraman told the BBC that he was caught unawares by a “very hard shove”, adding: “I didn’t know what was going on.”

O’Donoghue told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff.”

Footage captured from Skeans’ camera was posted to Twitter by O’Donoghue and shows the shot focused on Trump before jolting away.

As the camera appears to visibly bounce around for about 10 seconds, the screen then focuses on a man in a red cap who is swearing and being restrained by another man.

A BBC spokeswoman said Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd” as he covered the rally.

“The man was removed by security and Ron is fine. The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK,” she said.

“It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”

O’Donoghue said the goading of the crowds against the media is a “constant feature of these rallies”.

“I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular,” he added.

The American president has a strained relationship with the media, and has often branded reporting as “fake news” and stated that journalists are “the true enemy of the people”.

During his speech on Monday, Trump told the crowds inside El Paso County Coliseum that 69,000 people had signed up to attend.

“The arena holds 8,000 and thank you fire department, they got in about 10 (thousand),” he said.

“But if you really want to see something, go outside.

“Tens of thousands of people are watching screens outside.”

But according to reports, a spokesman for El Paso fire department said the president’s claim was incorrect, and that 6,500 people were allowed inside – the building’s capacity.

 

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